Hailing the chiefs

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Cape Girardeau police chief Steve Strong has served the city for 29 of his 33 years in law enforcement. His retirement Oct. 14 might concern the city if such an able replacement were not ready to step in.

Strong, who is 57, was named police chief four years ago after a four-month national search. During his tenure, city voters approved a sales tax used to increase police officers' salaries and to replace the city's aging fleet of squad cars.

Ordinarily nationwide searches ought to be conducted for top management positions in government if only to legitimize the choice of an in-house candidate. In this case no search is necessary because Capt. Carl Kinnison is an obvious choice.

Kinnison, 48, has been with the police force since 1979, when he became an officer at age 22. But even earlier on as a teenager he was an Explorer Scout who washed patrol cars.

As assistant chief he has assumed command of the department whenever Strong has been out of town.

Kinnison also is well liked up and down the police station and in the community.

Cape Girardeau couldn't find a more qualified person. He will take over as the new chief Oct. 15. The city is replacing one fine leader with another one.

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